In this article we answer the questions, What is marketing strategy? Why do you need a marketing strategy to help your business focus? and, What are the essential elements of a marketing strategy?
"The overall purpose of strategic marketing planning, and its principal focus is the creation of sustainable competitive advantage."
- Malcolm McDonald
Marketing Strategy is Your Long-term Game Plan or Roadmap
Your marketing strategy is not meant to be a one-time exercise that you complete, and then leave to sit on a shelf collecting dust. If that's what happens then you've just wasted a considerable amount of time and effort. The purpose of having a one is to guide your business over multiple years. It's meant to provide guidance for products and services, pricing, your annual marketing plans, and your tactical marketing campaigns and activities.
It's your long term game plan. It's who you're going to focus on, how you're going to win business, and how you're going to attract customers. It's going to guide how you create your marketing plans.
A comprehensive marketing strategy will include your value proposition - your competitive advantage in the market. It will include who your target audience is, and the key elements of your brand. It remains a constant from where you create your marketing plans. Now and in the future.
Marketing strategy => marketing plan => campaign plans => execution => win!
What it does
Your long-term marketing strategy will develop a sustainable competitive advantage. Your marketing strategy is the foundation of all your future annual marketing plans.
What it does:
- Identifies the markets and segments you want to compete in. It answers the question: Who is the target audience?
- It clarifies how you will sustain competitive advantage. It answers the questions: What will be your value proposition to your target markets? and, How will your value proposition be unique? Ideally your unique value proposition is also quantifiable by your target markets.
- It defines how you’re going to market your products and services
- Keeps you on track
How it helps
The benefits of having a strong marketing strategy will act as multipliers over many years.
- Win new customers
- Increase sales
- Encourage your existing customers to spend more
- Better establish your brand on the market and increase market share
- Confirm your tone of voice and brand identity
- Reduce churn and strengthen customer loyalty
- Reduce wasted or inefficient efforts in on markets, segments, and messaging that does not help your business achieve it's objectives
- Guarantee your business stays focused and current
How Do You Build a Strong Marketing Strategy?
To build an effective strategy that’ll support future marketing plans, you need discipline, time, and focus.
The process may sound complicated, but it's not as difficult as you may think. Many businesses skip this vital step because they are either intimidated by the perceived effort, or they are unsure of what to do and how to do it.